Anyone who watched The Late Show in their youth — and particularly if you were aged around 14 to 17 — may remember how it was a major talking point at school on Monday mornings. Episodes were dissected, knowing looks were exchanged when you heard the year 12s singing Ouchy Wouchy Heart in the quadrangle, and you treated the year 7s quite derisively because they were too young to understand exactly what the humour actually involved (oh, and they were too young to even watch it).
The first Late Show “social media”
My friends and I used to write in little diaries, the early 90s equivalent of Facebook. The Books, as they were known, were a kind of information exchange, a meeting place for comments and analyses about TV shows, music and teachers.
Below is a comment from someone who wrote in one of The Books. “I can’t believe I missed The Late Show,” C. wrote. “I miss Mick so much. PLEASE SOMEBODY — FIND SOMEONE WHO TAPED IT. I’m so sad. I get so depressed with I think I missed it. I ❤️ MICK MOLLOY. Mick rules.”
Further on I replied to C by summarising the highlights from The Late Show episode she tragically missed. Our obsession was summarised by our friend Anne who wrote:
THEY LIVE, BREATHE AND EAT IT.. THEY CONSTANTLY TALK ABOUT IT. THERE IS NO CONVERSATION IN WHICH THEY ARE NOT MENTIONED. THEY DO NOT GO FOR MORE THAN TEN MINUTES WITHOUT MENTIONING THE SUBJECT… AGAIN. THEY LIVE FOR SATURDAY NIGHTS. THE REST OF THE WEEK IS SPENT IN A DAYDREAM, LONGING FOR IT, WAITING FOR IT, WATCHING RERUNS OF IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN…THEY HAVE MEMORISED ENTIRE SKITS FROM IT, CAN RECITE 2 DOZEN SEPARATE QUOTES FROM IT, SOON THEY WILL KNOW ALL THE SCRIPTS BY HEART. IT IS MORE THAN FANDOM. IT IS OBSESSION.
The first Late Show website
In 1996, I decided to create a website dedicated to The Late Show. This was hosted on the now-defunct Geocities free hosting platform. Background GIF images had just become possible so I created one in Paint, but my imagination did not extend too much beyond the blue links and the black text that exemplified most homemade websites of the day.
No photographs or TV stills were included. The guest counter showed exactly how many people were coming to the site, and I received emails from so many people who were appreciative of my page!
The site included a brief history of the D-Generation, as well as key quotes from the two seasons. Season one highlight included Tony Martin’s Neil Diamond monologue, Desmond Tutu sketch, the Tony Martin as Informer send-up, and a few quotes from Graham and the Colonel. Some longer scripts such as the Dinner Party conversations, which had been originally transcribed by my equally obsessed friend Kinuyo at the time of airing, were also reproduced.
In later years, I was able to host a forum which linked off the site, and the community of fans began to grow, particularly when new projects from D-Gen alumni cropped up. Ah, the good old days!